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Three more senior LRH doctors resign

PESHAWAR: Three more senior doctors of the Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) resigned and joined other institutions due to unknown reasons; but according to certain faculty members they decided to quit after being denied their long overdue promotions.

Also, the faculty members claimed that the three doctors had quit their jobs due to the unfriendly working environment in the hospital.

“The three doctors who left LRH were noted names in their specialties. They worked in difficult circumstances in LRH and I believe they resigned due to two reasons, first denial of long overdue promotions and second the unfriendly environment in the hospital,” said an official of the hospital administration.

Pleading anonymity, he said other doctors too may soon quit their jobs.

Those who resigned include Dr Ijaz Hussain, a prominent paediatric cardiologist, Dr Sobia Sabir Ali, a known endocrinologist, and gynaecologist Dr Samdana Wahab.

Dr Ijaz Hussain was serving as an associate professor and had contributed a lot in setting up the paediatric cardiology unit in LRH.

He joined the Peshawar Institute of Cardiology (PIC) where he has reportedly been appointed as professor of paediatric cardiology.

According to sources, Dr Ijaz Hussain has been tasked with establishing the paediatric cardiology department in the newly built PIC. In LRH, both cardiology and cardiac surgery services had been neglected after the much-publicised health reforms initiated by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Instead of removing deficiencies and further improving cardiac services, the entire department was closed down three years ago citing high mortality rates. The cardiac surgery department is yet to be opened.

The cardiology department was also first started in KP in LRH but it too is passing through crisis after heads of the department were frequently replaced. Now the department is headed by an assistant professor who reportedly is still learning some of the procedures from his seniors.

After the cardiac surgery department was closed in LRH, there was no facility of cardiac surgery in any public sector hospitals in KP.

Luckily, a limited facility was started in the Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC) under public-private partnership and now the long-awaited PIC has been opened for patients, though on a very limited scale, apparently due to lack of funds.

According to insiders in the LRH administration, Dr Ijaz Hussain had served for eight years as associate professor and still there was no hope for him to be promoted.

Dr Sobia Sabir Ali wholeheartedly served in LRH but she was constantly denied her due promotion. She is a noted name in endocrinology in the province and had worked for nine years as assistant professor.

Before her, a noted female rheumatologist, Dr Tajwar resigned and left for the United Kingdom.

According to sources, another rheumatologist and other faculty members were planning to leave LRH as the administration has closed the institution-based private practice (IBP) in the hospital due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The remaining hospitals, including the Medical Teaching Institutions (MTIs), had never closed the IBP clinics in their respective hospitals. Also, most of the doctors recruited under MTI Act are now attending their private clinics in Dabgari Garden, the congested bazaar known in the province as the place where consultants practice privately and laboratories do roaring business.

Unlike the LRH, the doctors had never faced any difficulty in their promotions in other MTIs.

Dr Samdana Wahab is a gynaecologist and had served for nine years as assistant professor. She has reportedly joined a private medical college in Peshawar.

“There was a time when doctors used to quit jobs and come to LRH. Unfortunately, the doctors after spending their life in service are now leaving LRH and joining private medical institutions,” remarked a senior faculty member on condition of anonymity.

Recently, assistant professors Dr Javed Nawab and Dr Nayyar Waseem took premature retirement from LRH.

Both were associated with the cardiovascular department in LRH.

Earlier, Prof Dr Intekhab Alam, Prof Dr Javed Iqbal Farooqi and Prof Dr Syed Amjad Taqweem had taken premature retirement.

All three were prominent names in medicine.

When reached for comments, LRH media manager Mohammad Aasim said it was a routine as people come and leave for better opportunities.

“In the past four-five years, we had hired 30-40 assistant professors and most of them were highly qualified and came from abroad to join us. We recently recruited 60 medical officers and are in the process of hiring more,” he explained.

He said they can’t stop the faculty members when they are given better opportunities than LRH.

“The LRH is the best place for both the healthcare providers and patients. And LRH is probably the only place where merit is given importance,” Mohammad Aasim argued.

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